melatonin boy interview
Artists: melatonin boy. Photography by Brenessa Roach (@brenessaroach)

Born and raised in Hong Kong, singer-songwriter and producer melatonin boy is a rising indie-R&B artist making a name for himself in Toronto, Canada. With listeners all around the world, he has gained over a million streams across various digital streaming platforms. Additionally, he headlined his first show on April 23rd at the Drake Underground in Toronto alongside BNZA. Prior to the show, Behind The Beat had the opportunity to interview melatonin boy to discuss his musical journey, his upcoming debut EP could you call me tonight? and more!

The beginning of melatonin boy

About 6 years ago when melatonin boy was in ninth grade, he started making EDM electronic music for school. He said, “I never intended to be an artist, I wanted to be a producer. I guess my passion for becoming an artist was just simply motivation to make myself sing because back then I couldn’t find anyone to sing over my tracks. So eventually, I was like, ‘I’ll do it myself’.”

With this desire, he was in 11th grade when he began to learn how to sing and since he had the producing skills from 9th grade, he just continued to work on his voice. In this process, he experimented a lot with his sound and was releasing music under a different alias.

By July 2021, he settled for the name melatonin boy as he didn’t resonate with the other alias. We were very curious about how he chose the name melatonin boy and he says, “melatonin boy is a personification of all the thoughts that keep us up at night. Ranging from love interests or love interests that could have been, has been in the past or what you wish for”.

Navigating the music industry as an Asian artist

Growing up in Hong Kong, melatonin boy was really only surrounded by genres such as Cantopop and a lot of mainstream Western pop music like Marroon5. Although he really enjoyed English songs because of how universal the language and music is, he says, “I didn’t really feel represented”.

However, this started to change around 2017 when Joji began to rise in the music industry and became the first Asian-American/Asian artist that melatonin boy looked at and was like, “oh, man, this guy’s doing what I really like”. Furthermore, the creation of 88rising inspired melatonin boy and really set the foundation for what he was trying to do alongside EXPOSITION who has a similar goal.

He says, “growing up, I didn’t have many influences, but I feel like I could be the influence for future generations and that’s my general goal [as an Asian artist]”.

Live Performances

As an artist, melatonin boy performed for the first time ever opening for RUSSELL! in Toronto back in February. This was melatonin boy’s first time singing in front of a crowd since 11th grade which he says, “that didn’t go well so, this was a huge leap.” Following that opening performance, in just two months melatonin boy headlined his very own show alongside BNZA. He says, “because I’ve only had one show, I really thought I would have another opportunity to open for someone else and never expected within this short timeframe. I’m very grateful and I’m very thankful for this opportunity because it’s a chance for me to expand my artistry to new audiences and continue building my career. I always thought my first headline would have been some of bar or a small little free admission type of venue. So, I am forever grateful for this opportunity.”

could you call me tonight? EP

melatonin boy’s EP is set to release on May 12th but, back in March, he released the single “we know it’s not, babe” which is the pre-release track for this EP could you call me tonight. As a whole, he has been working on this EP since 2021 long before “running down” with juhye even came out. “we know it’s not, babe” was put out as a pre-release because he felt that the other two unreleased songs on the EP were very personal and he wanted them to be released together as a joint kind of feeling. He says, “The EP in general is not really a cohesive story, it’s more of a collection of naive teenage thoughts, you know, like, young love and how it’s so kind of fragile. And I think with “we know it’s not, babe”, it’s something that the general message is super relatable and it’s not niche all. The song is very universal with the meaning of having someone wanting to come back to you and they realize they were wrong.”

The EP consists of five songs and we wanted to know what song melatonin boy was the most proud of, which is the first single on the EP titled “breathe”. “That’s probably my favourite song as I’ve worked on it for a long time.” This is a song that doesn’t necessarily relate to melatonin boy’s current sound (which is very R&B inspired). With “breathe”, it’s a song that’s “combining elements from when I was just a producer and not an artist, as well as my current sounds today. And although people might enjoy other songs more, “breathe” holds a special place in my heart as I had a lot of changes for that [song] and worked a long time for it”.

Goals for the future

Going forth, after the release of could you call me tonight?, melatonin boy will continue to work on music. Now that he is starting to get more attention from media outlets and in general, he wants to experiment with his music and really find a sound that symbolizes him as a brand. “When you hear artists like keshi, they have very distinctive guitar sounds and melodies that when you hear it, you go, ‘oh, that’s definitely a keshi song and such’. I want to have that for myself and perfect it. And then when I am confident, I will release it”.

As well, jumping back to the previous question about being an Asian artist, melatonin boy wants to continue to be an influence for Asian-American kids and he wants them to look up to him and realize that “the music industry and environment is changing and you have a chance now [to be an artist]. You don’t have to beg some old, white boomer in front of a record label for a deal or to get attention. No, you have the opportunity now.” He went on to talk about the stigma around music with Asians still being pretty negative so, he hopes to help change that.

And lastly, “I hope to basically just have music that allows people to feel relatable, you know, I want people to listen to my music and go ‘hey, this is a scenario that I can relate to’.”

Special thanks to melatonin boy for taking the time to interview with us. As well, thank you to EXPOSITION for the opportunity.

Make sure to pre-save melatonin boy’s upcoming EP could you call me tonight? and check him out on Spotify:

Check out melatonin boy  on Instagram: @melatoninboy

Also check out his Spotify page:

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